A slight increase in COVID cases in the Joplin area


JOPLIN, MO – After low COVID-19 hospitalization numbers just a few weeks ago, two area hospitals are seeing a slight increase.

It wasn’t too pong ago that Freeman Health System and Mercy Hospital Joplin were in the single digits for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

But now, both Freeman and Mercy are in the 20’s when it comes to in-patient COVID stays.

“Over the last week, week and a half, we’ve seen that increase significantly. We’ve tripled, quadrupled our numbers.” Says Donna Stokes, Mercy Hospital Joplin Infection Control Specialist.

Freeman Health System Infection Prevention Manager, Jessica Liberty, says this wasn’t unexpected.

“We did anticipate that there could potentially be a COVID surge, especially with a lot of activities, returning to normal, graduation parties. Instances where people, large groups of people are together, we share germs and so obviously there is that increase risk of exposing other people.” Says Liberty.

Although it’s still possible to still transmit the virus if vaccinated, Liberty says symptoms won’t be nearly as bad.

“What we have seen is that the, their COVID, if they subsequently develop the COVID illness that their symptoms are significantly less severe.” Says Liberty.

Even if you have been vaccinated, Stokes says it’s still a good idea to use precautions.

“Masking is still really a good recommendation. Don’t let your guard down about hand hygiene, very important. We want people to keep cleaning their hands.” Says Stokes.

Freeman Health System will be having a back-to-school vaccination clinic for kids ages 12 and up, starting July 13th, so they can be fully vaccinated by the time school starts back up in the fall.

While Mercy doesn’t have an event like this, Stokes says that anyone can continue to use their walk in vaccination clinic they have Wednesday through Friday.

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